I wrote a book. Phew- that felt fun and incredibly scary to write. Fun because it has been a life long dream of mine to publish a book but it wasn’t until about four years ago that I finally figured out the content. Scary because vulnerability is hard for me and it feels really, freaking vulnerable to bear your soul in 200 pages and wonder if others will resonate with anything. I wrote the book, though, because it honestly felt like I had to. You know when God puts something on your heart that you just can’t get away from? It’s that constant tug, that quiet voice, that idea that keeps popping up at the most random of times. Well that was my book. I felt like I needed to share my story in the hopes that others could learn from it. Here is a sneak preview if you are interested. I look forward to sharing more content soon.
From the Introduction of The Colorful Image of God:
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. –Genesis 1:27
More than a decade ago, some courageous colleagues shared that their experiences as people of color on the team I was managing and the program I was leading didn’t feel good. They were treated differently than the White people. They were tired of hearing prejudiced comments that people like me weren’t addressing. Their feedback was a punch in the gut . . . and it was the most instrumental feedback I have ever received as a professional and a person.
To back up a bit, I was in my early thirties and had worked in a lot of diverse settings. I loved Jesus. I served the poor. I had worked for nonprofits both professionally and as a volunteer and loved many people of color well . . . at least, that was my intention and belief. I was an advocate for justice. I was working for an organization fighting for educational equity because I believed in what God teaches so clearly in the Bible—all people are created in his image—and I knew that so many kids of color weren’t getting a good education in our country. Even with all of that as a part of my story, I had never been confronted with, nor really thought about the fact, that I was a White person contributing to the system of racism in our country.
I am so thankful for the “teachers” I had then and have had for more than a decade as I have continued to explore what it means to be White in America; I now know my White skin has shaped my life and will continue to shape it until the day I die. A lot of the reading and studying I have done related to race and racism has been from texts written from a secular viewpoint. For me, though, with every read, I have thought, “This is what God would say about this, I think,” or “This lines up so well with who I know Jesus to be or what the Bible would teach in this area.”
I often say, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and in the case of this topic, White people can actively choose “not to know.” But I believe (and I pray) that most White Christians, if given the gift of feedback I was given, would choose to learn more and act differently. We would recognize that it is impossible to follow the greatest commandment of loving God and loving our neighbor (Luke 10:27) without realizing the ways that we are degrading our neighbors when we are complicit in a system that advantages people like me (a White person) simply because of the color of my skin.